Canada’s main stock index closed with a slight gain Friday while U.S. markets slumped on negative expectations in the consumer goods and technology sectors.
The gains in Canada were led by telecoms and base metals, helping push the S&P/TSX composite index up 29.90 points at 15,484.32.
The results were better than for U.S. markets, which are less tied to commodity prices such as crude oil, said Norman Levine, managing Director of Portfolio Management Corp. in Toronto.
“The Canadian market has underperformed the U.S. market for quite some time, and it has to do with the fact that our market is non-diversified compared to the U.S. It’s very reliant on, and market weighted towards, resource and financial stocks.”
In New York, the Dow Jones industrial average ended down 201.95 points at 24,462.94. The S&P 500 index closed down 22.99 points to 2,670.14 and the Nasdaq composite index was down 91.93 points at 7,146.13.
The indexes were especially weighed down by technology stocks including Apple Inc., which slid 4.10 per cent, on a disappointing outlook, said Levine.
“Sales are nothing special, they’ve got no fancy new product to bring people in, and Chinese competitors are taking a big market share from them in China, which is a big market for them.”
Consumer goods stocks also stumbled, while rising inflation and interest rates have helped put downward pressure on equities.
Inflation in Canada, however, fell slightly below analyst expectations Friday to reach 2.3 per cent for March.
The Statistics Canada inflation numbers, boosted by higher prices for gasoline and airline tickets, were up from the 2.2 per cent in February and 1.7 per cent in January, but still pushed down the loonie as they were not enough to put pressure on the Bank of Canada, said Levine.
“It’s the driver of the dollar, it’s down half a cent because the inflation numbers were fairly benign, meaning that it came as expected, not stronger. If they were stronger, it would have put more pressure on the Bank of Canada to raise rates sooner, but that wasn’t the case.”
The Canadian dollar averaged 78.57 cents US, down 0.59 of a US cent.
The June crude contract closed up seven cents at US$68.40 per barrel and the May natural gas contract ended up eight cents at US$2.74 per mmBTU.
The June gold contract was down US$10.50 to US$1,338.30 an ounce and the May copper contract was unchanged at US$3.13 a pound.